Report: Foxconn Used Involuntary Interns To Build PS4 (UPDATED)

UPDATE Friday, October 11– After reaching out to Sony for comment, a Sony spokesperson provided the following statement to Game Front:

“Sony expects its suppliers, including Foxconn, to fully comprehend and comply with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are in communication with Foxconn and are investigating the matter.”

We’ll be following this story closely.

Original Article:

According to reports coming out of China, Foxconn is forcing thousands of university students to assemble Sony’s PlayStation 4 in its Yantai plant. Games in Asia picked up the report, originally posted on Chinese site Tencent Games/QQ.

The report says the students are from the nearby Xi’an Institute of Technology’s Engineering program. The “internship” program, which has students majoring in everything from computer science to finance, is mandatory for graduation, and the students will lose six class credits if they leave the job. And what a job it is, with duties ranging from gluing components together to applying stickers to sorting cables and manuals for retails boxes.

Initially, Foxconn claimed no wrongdoing, saying only that it employs a voluntary workforce. The manufacturing giant, while still deflecting any real blame, has since told Quartz that “…immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies.” The actions include making sure students are forced to work night shifts or overtime, but they are still working the day shift. It’s unclear if the student are being paid or not.

The school has declined to comment, thus far, and it’s possible the Institute received an “agent’s fee” for adding its students to the workforce.

A similar story surfaced in 2012, when it was reported that students from the same Xi’an school were working on the iPhone 5 assembly line. During that episode, the school received $16 for every student it sent to work in the Foxconn factory.

We have reached out to Sony for comment, and will update if any new information arrives.

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9 Comments on Report: Foxconn Used Involuntary Interns To Build PS4 (UPDATED)

Mike

On October 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Meh, better than the Indonesian kids I was expecting.

SupremeAllah

On October 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

So, Sony is almost as bad as Steve Jobs. May he rot in hell.

Red Menace

On October 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Since Foxconn is the same company Apple works with, I’d say Sony is as bad. I mean, they don’t tell them to use slave labor, but I also doubt they ask a lot of questions.

R.J.

On October 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Let’s hear it for outsourcing. It’s a whole lot easier to be the cheapest supplier when you don’t pay your workers.

Russell

On October 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Ok Just so you guys know, companies like Foxconn place bids for the contract to build these parts for said company for a certain price per unit or a bulk price. Sony puts the job out their, and people with the lowest bid and best rep usually get the job. No company is going to go out and check their labor and work conditions. Foxconn is actually a reputable company, why would they check up on them.

Evernessince

On October 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm

@Russel

Um maybe because Foxconn has a history of bad working conditions. Sony very well knew this going in and they did it anyways. Whatever Sony is saying now is just to save face. They may have supplier policies in place but just like politicians, do no good unless checked up on.

Josh

On October 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I found out about this last week and I may not buy a PlayStation4 this time around until Don’t does what apple won’t and intervene. I don’t buy apple for this very reason.

jb318

On October 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

If you stop buying from companies that use horrible labor practices you’d be naked and living in an empty apartment with no lights. It’s a sad fact that just about any company that needs manufacturing done these days usually opens shop in that part of the world. On the other hand if they brought their factories here and let americans build their products your new PS4 would probably be twice the price.

Evernessince

On October 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm

@jb318

You might see a 20% increase in price at most.